Encyclopedia of Parallel Computing

2011 Edition
| Editors: David Padua

PETSc (Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific Computation)

  • Barry Smith
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-09766-4_87


The Portable, Extensible Toolkit for Scientific computation (PETSc, pronounced PET-see) is a suite of open source software libraries for the parallel solution of linear and nonlinear algebraic equations. PETSc uses the Message Passing Interface (MPI) for all of its parallelism.


The numerical solution of linear systems with sparse matrix representations is at the heart of many numerical simulations, from brain surgery to rocket science. These linear systems arise from the replacement of continuum partial differential equation (PDE) models with suitable discrete models by the use of the finite element, finite volume, finite difference, collocation, or spectral methods and then possibly linearization by a fully implicit strategy such as Newton’s method or semi-implicit techniques. The resulting linear systems can range from having a few thousand unknowns to billions of unknowns, thus requiring the largest parallel computers currently available. Large-scale linear...

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  1. 1.
    Balay S, Buschelman K, Eijkhout V, Gropp WD, Kaushik D, Knepley MG, McInnes LC, Smith BF, Zhang H (2008) PETSc Users Manual, Argonne National Laboratory Technical Report ANL0-95/11 - Revision 3.0.0Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Balay S, Gropp WD, McInnes LC, Smith BF (1997) Efficient management of parallelism in object oriented numerical software libraries. In: Arge E, Bruaset AM, Langtangen HP (eds) Modern software tools in scientific computing. Birkhauser Press, Boston, pp 163–202Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Balay S, Gropp WD, McInnes LC, Smith BF (2002) Software for the scalable solution of PDEs. In: Dongarra J, Foster I, Fox G, Gropp B, Kennedy K, Torczon L, White A (eds) CRPC handbook of parallel computing. Morgan Kaufmann PublishersGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    J Dongarra’s freely available software for linear algebra. http://www.netlib.org/utk/people/JackDongarra/la-sw.html
  5. 5.
    List of external software packages available from PETSc. http://www.mcs.anl.gov/petsc/petsc-as/miscellaneous/external.html
  6. 6.
    Saad Y (2003) Iterative methods for sparse linear systems, 2nd edn. SIAMzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Partial list of applications written using PETSc. http://www.mcs.anl.gov/petsc/petsc-as/publications/petscapps.html
  8. 8.
    PETSc’s webpage. http://www.mcs.anl.gov/petsc
  9. 9.
    TRILINOS’s webpage. http://trilinos.sandia.gov
  10. 10.
  11. 11.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Smith
    • 1
  1. 1.Mathematics and Computer Science DivisionArgonne National LaboratoryArgonneUSA